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What Christian Rides

Christian Meier’s Go-To Bike

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CHRISTIAN MEIER IS THE CO-OWNER OF THE SERVICE COURSE BASED IN GIRONA, SPAIN.

Interview: Tim Schamber. Images: Tristan Cardew / The Service Course.

As a pro you were required to ride a certain bike brand. Were those bikes custom sized or off-the-shelf sizing? While racing we always rode off-the-shelf bikes.

tim schamber

Service Course doesn’t really deal with the big brands we all know of, instead with smaller, independent fabricators. Was that something you intended for Service Course? Yes, very much so. I loved so much about what they stand for, the craft and attention to detail that goes into building a custom bike for a client. The patience and anticipation from the client’s side, these are not impulse buys and going through the whole process really is what builds a firm bond with your bike and also with the builder. There are some very talented people doing amazing things and we want to support that.

christian meiers

You came to Portland, Oregon, to get a Speedvagen. Why Speedvagen? And what do you love about the Speedvagen bike you ride? When I first started looking at steel bikes when I was retiring and speaking to a mate who had more experience than myself, he told me, “Look, most of the guys you are looking at are damn good bike builders and will build you a good bike, but there will always be one that you are more drawn to, to its personality.” When looking at builders I always came back to Speedvagen, to the personality of the bikes, of the brand and those sexy S-bend seat stays. The ride quality is what really stands out to me about this bike—smooth and buttery but lively and quick at the same time, perfectly balanced.

has your geometry and position
has your geometry and position
has your geometry and position

Has your geometry and position changed since you retired in 2016? How so? What’s different now? On the road it hasn’t changed at all. Going more into the ultra-racing, some changes have been made, sure. Spending back-to-back, 16-plus-hour days means muscles get more tired than ever happens on the road, especially the rougher the terrain gets. We have brought the front end up a bit higher to give the neck more relief.

You did the Atlas Mountain Race. Describe that race for people who are not aware of it. And was it one of the hardest things you’ve done/ridden? Atlas Mountain Race is a 1,150-kilometer, self-supported gravel/adventure race. The clock starts when the gun goes and stops when you get to the finish. Sleep where you like, be it in your bivy on the side of the trail or a hotel if you like, but the idea is to ride as much as possible while sleeping as little as possible and fending for yourself along the way. It was hard but maybe not the hardest thing I have done; I actually did not end up finishing due to a saddle issue, but I will be back next year to have another go. This ultra-thing has got a bit of a hold of me at the moment.

As a pro, did you do much gravel/dirt riding? And is it your favorite form of riding these days? Starting out in mountain biking and living in such a rural part of Canada [New Brunswick] I was always in the forest and on the dirt. While I was training here in Spain, I would find myself missing that pure nature and would just head off on the gravel roads on my road bike. I definitely spend more time on dirt these days, especially with not much guiding to do at the moment with Covid-19.

CHRISTIAN’S SETUP

FRAME: Speedvagen Road. Mix of True Temper and Columbus steel tubing, hand-welded and hand-painted in Portland, Oregon

FORK: ENVE Composites Rim Brake fork

DIMENSIONS: 724mm (saddle height); 530mm (reach)

GROUP: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical

CRANKS: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100, 172.5mm with Stages left arm power meter

WHEELS: ENVE Composites SES 4.5 rims with Chris King hubs

BARSTEM: ENVE Composites Compact Road bars

TIRES: Continental GP4000sII (700x25c)

SADDLE: Fabric Cycling

BAR TAPE: Lizard Skins

JOCKEY WHEELS: CeramicSpeed OSPW

BOTTOM BRACKET: CeramicSpeed

BOTTLE CAGES: Arundel Mandible carbon

From issue 95, get your copy here.